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INTRODUCTION TO LIFE ORIENTATION LEARNING AREA GRADE 7

Definition
The concept of life orientation captures the essence of what this Learning Area aims to achieve. It guides and prepares learners for life and its possibilities. Specifically, the Life Orientation Learning Area equips learners for meaningful and successful living in a rapidly changing and transforming society. The Life Orientation Learning Area is central to the holistic development of learners. It is concerned with the social, personal, intellectual, emotional and physical growth of learners, and with the way in which these facets are interrelated. The focus is the development of self-in-society. The Learning Area’s vision of individual growth is part of an effort to create a democratic society, a productive economy and an improved quality of life. The Life Orientation Learning Area develops skills, knowledge, values and attitudes that empower learners to make informed decisions and take appropriate actions regarding: Health promotion; Social development; Personal development; Physical development and movement, and Orientation to the world of work. These five focus areas of the Life Orientation Learning Area Statement all address the human and environmental rights outlined in the South African Constitution.

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Purpose
The Life Orientation Learning Area aims to empower learners to use their talents to achieve their full physical, intellectual, personal, emotional and social potential. Learners will develop the skills to relate positively and make a contribution to family, community and society, while practising the values embedded in the Constitution. They will learn to exercise their constitutional rights and responsibilities, to respect the rights of others and to show tolerance for cultural and religious diversity in order to build a democratic society. The Life Orientation Learning Area will enable learners to make informed, morally responsible and accountable decisions about their health and the environment. Learners will be encouraged to acquire and practise life skills that will assist them to respond to challenges and to play an active and responsible role in the economy and in society.

Self-in-society
Learners must find a place for themselves in a world increasingly different from that in which their parents lived. Despite political change, learners live in a complex and challenging environment. Crime and violence affect virtually every school, community and individual learner. Environmental issues affect the health and well-being of many communities. Within this context, learners have to develop a sense of confidence and competence in order to live well and contribute productively to the shaping of a new society. The following five focus areas shape the Learning Outcomes that address the developmental needs of the learner in the society:

Health promotion
Many social and personal problems are associated with lifestyle choices and high-risk behaviours. Sound health practices, and an understanding of the relationship between 1

health and environment, can improve the quality of life and well-being of learners. The Life Orientation Learning Area Statement addresses issues relating to nutrition, diseases including HIV/AIDS and STDs, safety, violence, abuse and environmental health.

Social development
In a transforming and democratic society, personal development needs to be placed in a social context so as to encourage the acceptance of diversity and commitment to democratic values. Discrimination on the basis of race, origin and gender remains a challenge for learners in the post-apartheid era. To address these issues, this Learning Area Statement deals with human rights as contained in the South African constitution, social relationships and diverse cultures and religions.

Introduction
Life Orientation
The term ‘religion’ in this Life Orientation Learning Area Statement is used to include belief systems and worldviews. Religion Education in the Revised National Curriculum Statement for Grades R-9 (Schools) rests on a division of responsibilities between the state on the one hand and religious bodies and parental homes on the other. Religion Education, therefore, has a civic rather than a religious function, and promotes civic rights and responsibilities. In the context of the South African Constitution, Religion Education contributes to the wider framework of education by developing in every learner the knowledge, values, attitudes and skills necessary for diverse religions to co-exist in a multi-religious society. Individuals will realise that they are part of the broader community, and will learn to see their own identities in harmony with those of others.

Personal development Personal development is central to learning, and equips learners to contribute effectively to community and society. This area focuses on life skills development, emotional development, self-concept formation and self-empowerment. Physical development and movement Physical and motor development is integral to the holistic development of learners. It makes a significant contribution to learners’ social, personal and emotional development. Play, movement, games and sport contribute to developing positive attitudes and values. This area focuses on perceptual motor development, games and sport, physical growth and development, and recreation and play. Orientation to the world of work Work is an essential aspect of living a meaningful life. All learners in the General Education and Training Band require a general orientation to work and further study, whether they intend to enter employment or study further. The learners, at the end of the General Education and Training Band, must make career and study choices that will affect their future. In order to make such choices, learners need career information from a range of Learning Areas. This area focuses on career information-gathering and planning skills, selfknowledge, general work and further study, and work ethics.

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